Black Bear Breeding & Reproduction

The American black bear breeding season begins sometime in may and can actually continue throughout the summer season.  Black bears are similar to most species in that the males actively pursue the females as they begin to come into estrus.  The boars fight and chase of smaller or younger boars to establish dominance.  Much like  The sows will stand to be bred for a period of roughly two to three days.  As this breeding season takes place in the middle of many state's spring bear season, it is very common to catch both a boar and sow at a bait site together.  Most females do not breed until they are 3-4 years old while males wait, on average, an extra year.

Black Bear Sow With Cubs
Black bear cubs live with their mother for over a year.

The gestation period of a bear is somewhere in the neighbor hood of 32 weeks, this means that around Janurary or February the sow will give birth to the young cubs during hibernation. The cubs can range in number from one to five and are typically six to eight inches long when they're born.  By the time the bears are ready to exit the den for the spring they could weight up to 10 pounds depending on how many littermates the cubs had.

These cubs will will live with their mother throughout the summer (where the sow will not enter a heat cycle) and fall, denning with her once again.  The following spring when they exit the den, the cub will stay with her until she begins to enter her heat cycle and she will kick the young bruins out on their own.



Russell, MB
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